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Saturday, October 1, 2016

In Full Disclosure

I am alive!  I know that many suspected that I had wandered off into the Land of Geezer--complete with memory absence and the inability to string two coherent thoughts together, leaving this blog to fend for itself or worse--to just sit and gather virtual web dust...  Au contraire.  Even though our summer conspired to take me to that impending cliff of Senility and gently nudge me over, I am alive to tell yet another tale and ride yet another bicycle into the fiery hell holes--a.k.a. intersections-- of Beijing.
I can tell that some of you still don't believe me.  It's been MONTHS since I put fingers to keyboard--well, except for that late-breaking news about our solar shower.  The case to support my demise is more convincing than the paltry evidence to the contrary.  So I have a witness...

"Madhadder?  Yes!  Yes!  Why, she passed my cage just the other day.  She looked to be alive!  She had a mane of unruly hair and her characteristic turquoise Baggallini over her shoulder.  I admit I didn't give her the breath mirror test, but from all observances, she is upright and moving.  You're welcome."

If the truth be known, I've been holding off on this blog until I could find something to photograph this year in China.  Some of my readers (microscopic though that number may be), were getting a little titschy about my brooms and mops.  I'm thinking polar bears.  What do you think?

We live just four pleasant subway stops from the Beijing Zoo.  The entrance fee is about 17 cents, so I could make regular pilgrimages.

The zoo appears to have two polar bears.

The other one was semi-comatose on the cement near this pool with his neck unnaturally wrapped around a huge tree as he slept.  I let him be.
But THIS guy---

He knows how to WORK IT!

Now if I could just get him to hold a mop...

Thursday, June 30, 2016

"Cleanliness is Next to......the Wood Shed.....Just Behind the Compost Bin...."

Ah, summer...Good Humor trucks tinkling tunes in your neighborhood,  running barefoot in the grass, swinging in a hammock with the Bobbsey Twins,  peeling sunburns, scratching mosquito bites, and endless popsicles.  The list could go on and on.  Summer for us, here at Provident Heritage Farm on Bench Road in pastoral Bear Lake tucked away in a sleepy corner of Idaho, usually means all of the above AND endless weeding.  We arise early to work in the cool of the day and collapse in our beds at night to the symphony of crickets and the occasional passing freight train.  Is it as good as it gets?  Usually we would nod vigorously and slap another steak on the grill.
Our summer reverie received an unanticipated jolt this summer when we returned from China in mid June to well issues.  What went wrong with our well is a subject for another time carried on by someone far more mechanical than I.  Suffice it to say that we have had NO culinary water to the camping trailer where Paco and I reside nestled just a smidgeon north of our home or our home where the housesitters currently live in anticipation of our returning to China for another year.  So, we're camping.  The water is still running murky.  We wait patiently for it to clear, but in the meantime we haul water to flush the toilet, haul water to wash our dishes in the camp basin, and haul water which we use to brush our teeth romantically under the moonlight each night.  And every so often when we begin to smell each other we sashay down to the neighbors' for a shower or boil up some hauled in water for a spit bath.  Does this sound like fun?  Our grandson Pete thought it was.  As for Paco and Mad, we are getting C-R-A-N-K-Y.  Nearly 3 weeks...UNCLE already!!!!!!!  But necessity is the mother of invention, and so yesterday and today Paco has been building

First he built the lower platform.  Because I am a tiny thinker, I thought we'd buy a 5 gallon solar shower off of amazon and stand here to use it.  Au contraire!  Up went a tower of sorts!  More questions!!!!
But then...

 I came home today and caught him in the act of moving our claw foot bathtub.  What?  You mean you don't have one of these that's been painted and sitting in your back yard for nearly five years?? --Inserting a  shoutout to Shelly whose painting skills should not go unheralded.-- Notice one of the claws didn't quite brave the move intact.  Who knew Paco was also a podiatrist??  This tub was salvaged from a home restoration of some friends and was originally headed up to the library to be used by the grandkids for reading.  Obviously it's been repurposed.

This was definitely a man of vision at work.  What I had taken for brooding the last few days was the incubation of a work of pure genius.  Hats off to Paco!

Note the compost bin looking on in disbelief through the fence.

 This 55 gallon steel bin will heat water very nicely in our hot summer sun.  
And then when it gets dark, we'll strip down, grab a towel and scamper through the moonlight...Perhaps it also has potential as a winter hot tub!

Voile'!!!!!!!!!  Isn't it smashing?? Ya'll come out!  Bring soap!  Rubber duckies!  No flashlights allowed. 

Monday, June 13, 2016

You Know You're Not in China Anymore When...

the local radio station in Brrrrr Lake is urging listeners during commercial break to take advantage of the hot sale on concealed weapons vests...

Friday, June 10, 2016


We're "sweeping up" today--ready to fly back to America in just a few minutes.

My interlude was going to be a whole philosophical meta analysis of the the political implications of China's recent change of one child policy compared to the economic growth patterns of urban China and the resulting catastrophes educationally speaking in the country mingled with scripture.

But instead, you'll get mops and brooms ("...silver and gold have I none...") and a brief soliloquy.  At no extra charge to you, the reader.  Incidentally, my reader count has plummeted in the last few weeks.  I assume responsibility for that--seeing as how I haven't written anything.

We've swabbed down our apartnment, washed the towels, left notes for the summer occupants, and taken out the trash.

I hardboiled the last egg, and I took four gelatinous rice pyramid-shaped semi-foods wrapped in an inedible leaf down to a couple of little 9 year old boys on skateboards (6:45 A.M.) in our square.  Oddly enough, they spoke perfect English--three years at Harvard with your dad probably woudn't hurt your skills.

We are trembly excited to return to our home.  I started singing the classic Mormon Tab  Choir hit, "Going Home", and unfortunately Paco joined in with some lyrics we had coined a few summers ago which went like this, "Mugsy Q.  Where are you?  Lying in the weeds?"  And so then I got a little misty-eyed.

This has been a fabulous year.  We'll see what Year 3 has to offer.  Who knew what China was all about???????????????????  Who?????????????

We're looking forward to 12 non-stop hours of American blockbuster movies and the occasional interruption with sub canteen food.



few smashing mops and brooms

You know how I love them.

And Paco standing sentinel.  He breaks his mold sometimes and cracks me up.

About those economic educational issues?  I'll get back to you.  In the meantime one of my students Fred is heading to Oxford to study them in detail.  Have I mentioned that I am extremely fond of Fred?  Well, I am.

We come bearing gifts.  The caveat is that we make no guarantees.

The only real guarantee I can make is that

I have taken

many pictures of 



brooms--for what that's worth...

and there's our taxi....

Favorite books

  • Me 'n Steve
  • Thundering Sneakers
  • James Herriott's vet books
  • The Count of Monte Cristo
  • Travels with Charley
  • A Walk in the Woods
  • Peace Like a River
  • The Egg and I
  • Mary Poppins
  • Extremly Loud Incredibly Close
  • How Green Was my Valley